At GRACE we believe Christianity is about being ON MISSION with Jesus IN CULTURE, which means we’re looking to make a PRACTICAL difference in the World, both here at home in Guelph and further afield.
A key way we achieve this is by partnering with our Members to help them DO God’s good work in the REAL world, with our collective resources backing them up.
To that end we set aside TEN PERCENT of our total annual income (about $45,000 last year) to GIVE BACK here in Guelph and Internationally. Additionally we support the Parkwood Gardens Neighbourhood Food Bank on a monthly basis (we donate $5 for every visitors card we receive each week) AND engage in several specific ‘seasonal’ outreaches each year.
If you would like to get involved in giving back in this way, give generously at Grace and/or contact us.
Support of Young Women in Lesotho - Ithabeleng
Ithabeleng is 17 years old and has one year left of high school to complete. She moved in with some relatives after her parents both passed away. She became unruly and her guardians decided to abandon her. She was referred to a Bracelet of Hope foster homes where she had her own bed, access to nutrition, education and a loving foster mother. She attended a high school party where she later realized that she had become pregnant from actions with an older youth. When the discussion came up, the boy who had participated in the act stated he was not interested in supporting her or the baby. Ithabeleng is due to have her child at the end of September.
In Canada, there are many options for pregnant youth, however in Lesotho, it often means leaving school, moving away from the friends and school you know and not returning to school. Ithabeleng now lives with her aunt in a home with her cousin. The aunt does not have the resources to support her, as she cleans houses to make a living. In order for Ithabeleng to have a chance in life, she needs to go back to school. By supporting her education and the payment of a child care worker, Ithabeleng can finish high school and have a chance at a career to support herself, her new baby and her family.
Because of the generosity of people from Grace Community Church, Ithabeleng and her aunt will now have the resources to pay for child care and education for Ithabeleng. This will be the start of a brand new life for them, and BoH personnel are so thankful to know that she will have the opportunity to grow and thrive like other young women.
Beginnings Family Services / Pregnancy Care Centre
For several years, Grace has supported Beginnings with financial and volunteer assistance. Some volunteers sort, clean and organize clothing and baby supplies while others teach the Baby Smarts program that is offered in local high schools.
Beginnings serves anyone who requests help with an unplanned pregnancy. They also support partners and family members. Beginnings provides information, material aid, and support to all regardless of race, religion, lifestyle, age, or financial ability. Sandy Brown is our Grace/Beginnings contact person.
Hockey Ministries International
Although there are limited opportunities for Grace volunteers to assist the Hockey Ministries chaplains, we have been pleased to provide prayer and financial support for a number of years. It has been an encouragement to hear about the lives of several players from the Guelph Storm and Listowel Cyclone teams who have benefitted by the ministry of their chaplains. Justin Davis and John Farnworth are the team chaplains.
Parkwood Gardens Neighbourhood Group (PGNG)
PGNG is an organization that provides a variety of community-based programs to meet the needs of families and children in their neighbourhood.
Some of their programs include an emergency food cupboard & clothing closet, teen drop-in programs and an after-school homework program for elementary-level children. Grace has been privileged to be able to coordinate and provide the door-to-door collection for an annual neighbourhood food drive. As well, our congregation has had periodic clothing drives and provided volunteers for some of the after -school programs. Kathy Goetz is our Grace/PGNG contact person.
The Life Centre (TLC)
TLC is a downtown mission in Guelph. Their goal is to provide a safe and loving environment for anyone who is in need. Each week they provide up to 600 meals and a variety of programs at no charge. Grace is humbled and honoured that we can contribute monthly financial help and that some of our volunteers are hanging out and serving TLC guests. Bobby Clark is our Grace/TLC contact person.
Impact Ecuador (IE)
IE focuses on supporting the people of Carmen Bajo, a poor neighbourhood in Quito, through the ministry of Carmen Bajo Church. Due to high unemployment, there is widespread poverty in the community, and social problems such as alcoholism and family degradation are common.
Since 2009, Grace has been able to send financial support and mission teams to Carmen Bajo where a children’s program is a place of refuge and growth for an increasing number of kids in the community who otherwise would be on their own from very early in the morning until late at night. Operated in partnership with Compassion International, the program provides a hot lunch and a half-day of tutoring to hundreds of kids each week. In recent years, post-secondary education has become possible for some of the kids which is helping families become self-sufficient. Mark Brown is the Grace/IE contact person
Grace values our partnership with Bracelet of Hope (BoH) a Guelph-based organization that supports a foster home program for children in Lesotho whose parents have died from AIDS. Our contact in Lesotho is Pastor James Qhobela who oversees orphanages where up to eight children live in each home with a foster mother or parents to care for them. The foster mothers receive a small stipend for their work and the program provides the children with food, heating fuel, school fees and uniforms, and medical treatment when needed. Grace sends a monthly financial contribution for the orphanage program and our volunteers pray for the various needs.
Africa Inland Mission (AIM) is a Christian mission community whose missionaries are called to live and minister among Africa’s least-reached peoples. With over 1000 African people groups who have yet to hear the good news of Jesus Christ, the mission is far from finished. Dan and Lindsay have worked in church planting in East Africa, The Horn of Africa, and North Africa. Together with their kids they will be based in Tanzania where they will work with TIMO, AIM's training branch, which helps train new missionaries from the global Church to plant reproducing churches among Africa's unreached peoples.
Once in Africa, Lindsay will be handling hospitality for the En Gedi base (a retreat center for teams doing debriefs, evaluations, training, etc.), and Dan will be mentoring and preparing prospective team leaders and continuing to provide support and accountability to those leaders as they lead their teams.